US-built Gaza Strip relief pier is done; aid to flow soon as war rages on

FILE-An aerial view of a construction area as construction of the temporary port, to be built to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, still continues in Gaza City, Gaza on April 29, 2024. (Photo by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)/Anadolu via

A floating pier was completed by the U.S. military on Thursday as officials prepare to send humanitarian aid into the area under attack during the Israel-Hamas war. 

The maritime route will enhance the amount of aid going into the Gaza Strip, and supplies will be dropped off at a port facility constructed by the Israelis near Gaza City and allocated by aid groups. 

Deliveries of aid will begin slowly to ensure the system works, and officials will begin with roughly 90 truckloads of aid a day through the sea route, and that number will quickly grow to about 150 a day. 

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U.S. officials told the Associated Press that the installation of the pier several miles off the coast and of the causeway was delayed for almost two weeks due to inclement weather, making sea conditions dangerous for U.S. and Israeli troops to secure the causeway to the shore.

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President Joe Biden used his State of the Union address on March 7 to order the military to set up a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza, establishing a sea route to deliver food and other aid. The AP reported that food shipments were delayed at land crossings amid Israeli limitations and fighting.

Israeli forces will be in charge of security on the shore, but there are also two U.S. Navy warships near the area in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the USS Arleigh Burke and the USS Paul Ignatius. 

The AP noted that the ships have a wide range of weapons and capabilities to protect American troops offshore and allies on the beach.

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Aid groups will gather supplies to distribute on shore, with the U.N. working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to set up the logistics hub on the beach. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.